- Pastor Luis Cruz
Jesus is still the Light of the World
Did you know that Jesus was born in a time of darkness? Jesus was born in a world of chaos. There was so much unrest and confusion in 4th B.C. Israel was under an oppressive foreign power. Poverty was rampant. Different religious groups fight to influence people. There were so many uncertainties and Jesus was born to this world to serve as light. “16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light;” Matthew tells us (4:16). The good news is that Jesus as light isn’t just for the Jews but for all of us who need God. That said, the apostle John says of Jesus, “4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:4. Jesus is the shining light in this dark world, the Bible tells us.
1. Jesus our Light.
The word light has been used 93 times in the New Testament. Light means at least 4 important things. 1st, it means that Jesus, as the agent of creation, has given life to the world. 2nd, it means that eternal life has been given as a gift to those who believed in Him as the promised Messiah. And 3rd, light refers to biblical truth. The 4th is that light refers to purity or holiness. In a simple sense, light refers to God.
The opposite of light of course is darkness. Darkness is often referred to chaos, confusion, oppression, madness, and disunity. The Bible also uses darkness to refer to Satan, to demons and to evil deeds.
But what does it mean to have Jesus as our light?It means that we have come to believe that Jesus is the Creator God. It also means that we firmly believe in God’s Word, and it is our basis for making decisions and living in purity. That’s what it means to have Jesus as our light. And if we believe these things then we reap His benefits, which I want to share with you today. First benefit is that…
2. Jesus is our hope.
Without hope, we will quickly die. Without hope, there is no sense to everything we do. Without hope, we will gravitate towards evil. Christ’s hope gives us the power to live for God. His hope pushes us to make sacrifices to accomplish the task at hand. Our God is the God of so much hope.
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:1-2.
This passage is one of the great foundations for the coming of Jesus. God promised that a time will come when gloom and darkness will be a thing of the past as many of them will see the promised Messiah. God gave his people hope at a time when his nation was about to be defeated by a formidable enemy. God gave them over to the desires of their heart because they refused to follow Him.
But God so loved them, that He promised to give a Deliverer who would save them from their darkened ways. Time would come that this Deliverer will be born to become their light and lead them into joy that would not have been experienced for many years.
Likewise, so many of us have been longing to see the end of this pandemic. This has affected the mental health of so many people. The ill effects of physical distancing, and physical isolation from families and friends who were infected by Covid-19 are obvious. Do you know how hard it is to try to stay away from a family member or a relative because of infection from Covid? It’s terribly hard both mentally, and emotionally. Our young children are suffering too as they’ve lost their in-person interaction with their friends.
Our situation today is like in both Matthew and Isaiah’s time. Human struggles, loneliness, conflicts, confusion, chaos, poverty, and fear are some of the words that may describe our darkness. And because God loves us so much, that Jesus came to us to give us hope. His hope gave us endurance to live our Christian life. His hope became our comfort. His hope gave us strength.
Hope in the Bible is not the ordinary term that people use today to describe their wish for something good to happen. Biblical hope is not finger-cross hope as someone said. Biblical hope is rooted in God. God, who is trustworthy, completely dependable, powerful, is totally faithful to His promises. Biblical hope is confident expectation in God’s promises. We believe that all the things promised in Jesus are always yes and amen.
A cancer survivor can bring hope to a cancer patient. Helping someone in need can bring hope. Sometimes a simple smile to an anxious person can lend a bit of hope. Good and encouraging words can bring much hope. A tip to a food server can bring hope. But there’s nothing like the encouraging promises of God in Christ. He said, a child would be born to us, and he would be called – Immanuel, God is with us even in times of troubles. Bottom line – Jesus gives us so much hope. And in Christ, there’s so much more. Another benefit of having Jesus as our light is that we have a present help, not later, but at our time of need.
3. Jesus is our present help.
“32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33.
Jesus understands us. He himself suffered difficult conditions. He came into this world not having the best in life. Though the Bible says, Jesus is King of kings, His birth was the farthest to any royal birth. No crowns were given, no royal bed was provided. His entire life on earth was far from easy. Your home, your bed, are even far better than His. And He told us that we must expect more hardships. There would be more persecutions, insults, troubles, confusions, hardships, sickness, political and religious unrests, calamities, pandemic, isolation, and confusions.
So, life will not be easy for us, and Jesus promised to help. His help comes through His counsel and encouragement. Jesus said, take heart, be courageous, cheer up, because he already won. He has overcome the world’s system. He went through tremendous opposition. He defeated Satan and exposed his schemes. To that end, MacArthur commentary writes, “The fundamental ground for endurance in persecution is the victory of Jesus over the world.”
Christ’s victory over sufferings and world systems will give us the endurance to live in this darkened world. His victory is our victory. We operate in this life from His victory. We can overcome our loneliness from physical separation, because he overcame his own isolation from friends who fled and run away in fear of Roman persecution during his punishment and crucifixion. He said His Father was with Him in His difficult moments and so is also God with us today. Jesus is Immanuel, He is the sign that God is with us, He is our present help. He is with us when we need Him.
But there’s more help. The Bible tell us, “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus helps us in our times of darkness when we pray. He gives us His own peace. God’s peace surpasses human comprehension. It surpasses human intellect, and insight. God’s peace guards the believer’s heart and mind, that is the emotions and thoughts. We are emotionally and mentally stable even when we face trials of many kinds, like the effects of this pandemic.
The Bible tells us that this divine peace is ready and available to those who would ask the Lord. God’s peace does not change with circumstances, unlike the peace that the world offers. God’s peace is not built on changing foundations but on His everlasting words. The Bible tell us, “8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8. God’s peace does not ignore darkness, but shines into darkness to overcome it. His peace gives comfort and strength to our heart regardless of our situation.
When you build your peace on fleeting things, on people, on regulations, on rules, on world’s riches, on stock markets, work and financial standing, your peace will be quick lived. Fleeting things produce quick lived emotions, too. Fleeting things give you a burst of happiness, a burst of pleasure, a quick burst of joy, but they are not everlasting as the peace of God.
The peace of God helps us to act, to obey the Lord’s will, and to live in His joy in every situation. The peace of God is the antidote to anxiety which empowers us to live with thanksgiving to God. God’s peace goes beyond human understanding because it is anchored in faith.
Dear friends, I pray that you consider asking Jesus to be your light. Would you place your faith in Him today?
 MacArthur, Unleashing God’s Truth, 1411.